Walking through Hagia Sophia today and my trusty backpack that has made it though so much wear throughout the world broke on me. I stared at the zipper that had just completely come apart and almost came apart myself. My backpack with all of its secret compartments and hooks has become my very best friend away from home. Have it all organized just as I like it after a year and a half on the road. The thought of having to redo all that left me quite sad.
Trudged around a bit towards the tram and got off at the Grand Bazaar stop and headed towards the underground where I saw some backpacks for sale
. Went up to a young guy and showed him my backpack and gestured to see if he knew where I could get my zipper fixed. He shrugged as is to say that there was no place in all of Turkey where my zipper could be fixed and could he please show me some of his bags for sale. After a serious eye rolling at him I walked to the next shop where these two other older men had been observing what was going on. They had a bit of a discussion in Turkish and then one of them got up and motioned for me to follow him. Up the street, down the alley and up the stairs he took me all the while other men were watching and probably thinking the very worst about what we were up to. Anyway, we came down the first set of stairs and then went down another alley and up another set of stairs till we came to a small shop with two men and their sewing room. After another brief conversation...me saying please and thank you in my barely passable Turkish and a close inspection of the bag in question they set to work. I sat down with the tea they offered me and waited. After about 15 minutes...presto...new zipper, bag seams reinforced for more strength and the best part...they refused my payment which I offered the usual three times. Just smiled and sent me on my way.
There is still hope in the world...
After days of dodgy Turkish men young and old hounding me to buy carpets, to visit their shops, eat in their restaurants, and soliciting for other unmentionables...I feel compelled to share a completly different side of the Turkish Man Experience aka TME.